About Sipadan Island (Pulau Sipadan)
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Oceanic island in the Celebes Sea off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. One of the richest marine habitats in the world. Sipadan island is one of the world’s most famous diving paradises, which is located off the coast of East Malaysia. It rises approximately 600 meters from the seabed and strategically situated in the heart of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, which is well-known as home for the richest aquatic habitats in the entire world. The legendary of diving heaven is claimed to have more than 3, 000 species of marine lives and hundreds or coral species within its ecosystems.
The Best Diving Spots
There are nine established dive spots which can be found in Sipadan Island. These spots are named after the captivating encounters divers such as the Hanging Garden, Barracuda Point, White-Tip Avenue, Coral Garden and Turtle Patch. The most popular diving spot is Barracuda point where divers normally came across the big school of barracudas swimming near the area.
Best Time to Visit and Dive
It ia a blessing for Malaysia to own a unique climate, boasting an all year-round sunshine exposure ranging from 21˚C to 32˚C with the humidity of 85-95%. Raining season is to be expected between the month of November and February with annual rainfalls record around 2,000mm to 2,500 mm.
Limited Dives per day
Sipadan Island has been issued as a protected island under the 2004 Malaysian Government Laws of Act in order to preserve the ecology and wildlife. Due to this reason, only 120 divers are allowed each day for diving activities where dives are distributed evenly between the twelve resots in Mabul and Kapalai for the tourists.
Accommodation as well as transport facilities can be found in Mabul Island and Kapalai Island. The divers will be ferried to the diving spots with the helps from the resort operators daily. The resorts are also offering water bungalows as well as wooden duplex chalets, both equipped with air-conditioner, spa and sauna, ceiling fans, private balcony with panoramic sea view, satellite television, mini bar and fly screen in each unit of the room.
The resorts provide 24/7 services of power supply by using 3-pin rectangular plugs similar to British plugs.
All purchases and trades are used in Malaysian Ringgit (RM) currency. Money changers can be found at the aiport and Semporna that accepted the use of VISA and MasterCard in all resort. There are no ATM machines provided at the resorts.
You could ride on road transportation for four hours from Semporna to Sukau Rainforest Lodge if you want a great change from the blue sea and hot sunshine exposure and experiencing the bountifully green rainforest and more breathable fresh air. You may want to hop on the Kinabatangan river cruise and enjoying to watch some primate species hanging on the treetops.
Resources and info:
The town of Semporna is the gateway to the Island of Sipadan. Speak to a local dive company who will sort out a permit and transport (by boat). You can also reach Sipadan from nearest islands such as Kapalai, Mabul or Mataking.
Last edited on Dec 30, 09 9:35 AM.
Contributors: David W. , Hanne F. , Eric M. , Alex C. Show History
First To Review: Craig S.
Oct 11, 2008
This is a scuba-diver's dream! I had done my open-water dive course in Thailand and was lucky enough to do my advanced course here. I think I am now spoilt for anywhere else. Sipadan is incredible!! Turtles galore, a whole school of barracuda, reef sharks (even a distant leopard shark!), big eye trevally... the list is endless overwhelming. Crystal clear waters and incredible marine life... It's an absolute paradise. Bare in mind though that permits to the island are limited so it's worth booking with a dive school in advance of your arrival. You do not want to get to Semporna and find you can't get out to Sipadan!!! However, if you do find yourself in that position, the neighbouring islands of Mabul and Kapalai certainly wont dissapoint! I dived with Scuba Junkies in Semporna and would recommend them. They also run a hostel across from the dive shop (scuba junkies backpackers)
Feb 17, 2010
I visited Sipadan in 2001, less than a year after the Filipino terrorist group Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 21 people from the island. Back in 2001 there were several dive shops and mall hotels operating on the island, although the majority of them without permits. Diving then was absolutely brilliant with beautiful corals, a cave with a turtle skeleton, sea turtles en masse, barracudas and other large pelagic fish as well as plenty of small creatures for the macro-photographers.
Today all the hotels have been torn down and divers will have to stay at Mabul or Kapalai, neighbouring islands, both of them with good diving. For the quality of the diving on Sipadan I think this is good, the fresh water run-off from the hotels on the island was clearly visible in the cave and would eventually have started to damage the reef ecology.